loose leaf tea.

The zero waste tip I’m writing about today is so simple, it hardly needs a post. But the weather is getting chilly and the nights darker, so these days I wanna make tea, drink tea, write about tea, share tea with friends. Let’s get cozy.

While it's a fraction easier to buy tea in individually wrapped packages and use the teabags one by one, making loose leaf tea is more sustainable. Though they seem to be just paper, most teabag wrappers are coated in plastic on the inside, so they aren’t recyclable.

You can find loose leaf tea sold in bulk at any grocery store worth its salt. (Your local Whole Foods sells it, or try a grocery store from this list). You’ll need two things to make litterless loose leaf tea: a bag or jar in which to purchase and store the loose tea, and a tea strainer. 

Here’s how: Fill your container at the grocery with the tea of your choosing—I prefer herbal teas such as peppermint or lemongrass, which lack caffeine and thus don’t leave me tossing and turning at midnight. Fill your strainer with a tablespoon or two of tea, rest it in your mug, and pour boiling water on top of it. Take out the strainer when the tea is steeped to your liking, and compost the spent tea leaves after you’ve let them cool a spell.

And, of course, you can try your hand at growing your own herbal teas (such as mint) in your windowsill or garden. Fresh leaves make a tea much more delicate and subtly flavorful than the dried variety. But, any kind will warm your hands and your kitchen.